Objectives The aim of the study was to perform a comparison of the prognostic performance of computed tomography coronary angiography (CTA) and exercise electrocardiography (ex-ECG) in patients with suspected coronary artery disease (CAD). Background CAD is a major cause of mortality and morbidity, and its management consumes a large proportion of the health care budget. Therefore, identification of patients at high risk of adverse events is crucial. Despite its limited accuracy, ex-ECG is the most commonly used noninvasive test in CAD evaluation. CTA was recently introduced as alternative test. Methods We enrolled 681 patients (age 61.3 ± 10.4 years, 461 men) with atypical or typical angina and no history of CAD. All patients underwent ex-ECG and CTA and were followed for 44 ±12 months. The endpoints were all cardiac events, defined as nonfatal myocardial infarction, cardiac death, and revascularization, and hard cardiac events, defined as all cardiac events excluding revascularization. Results ex-ECG and CTA were rated as positive in 419 (61%) and 274 (40%) of 681 patients, respectively. In univariate analysis, both ex-ECG and CTA were predictors of all cardiac events (hazard ratio [HR]: 2.09, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.5 to 2.8; p <0.0001 and HR: 21.1, 95% CI: 14.6 to 30.5; p <0.0001, respectively) and hard cardiac events (HR: 1.9, 95% CI: 1.1 to 3.2; p = 0.02 and HR: 6.8, 95% CI: 3.9 to 11.0; p <0.0001, respectively), whereas in a multivariate analysis, CAD with ≥50% stenoses detected by CTA was the only independent predictor of hard cardiac events. Stratifying our population by ex-ECG and CTA findings, Kaplan-Meier curves showed that ex-ECG provides only a further risk stratification in the subset of patients with positive findings on CTA and a low to intermediate likelihood of CAD. Moreover, positive findings on CTA identify a shorter event-free period, regardless the ex-ECG findings for both all cardiac events and hard cardiac events, respectively. Conclusions CTA may have a higher prognostic value compared with ex-ECG in patients with suspected CAD, mainly in those with a low to intermediate pre-test likelihood of CAD.
- computed tomography
- coronary artery disease
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging